It’s hard to deny the joys of travel; it’s a pretty universally loved experience. Of course, it’s also expensive and it’s not always easy to make time for it. If you’re itching to travel, but it’s not in the cards in your foreseeable future, here’s how to make do in the meantime.
Come Up With a Plan, Even a Long-Term One
Even frugal travel be pretty expensive. So expensive, in fact, that we’re quick to brush it off and say we can’t afford it. That may be painfully true, but it’s also true that many of us give up easily when it comes to our finances. A great question to ask when you feel defeated is “what if?”
For example, when I was in student loan debt, there seemed to be no way in hell I could afford to take a vacation. Just for kicks, though, I asked myself, I cut back on all my other spending and supercharged my debt payments? I picked up a side job and used that cash to pay the debt, too? I got a roommate to split the cost of rent? Everyone has different answers, and yours may still leave you at a dead end, or they may just be of the question.
Personally, though, I was surprised at the possibilities those answers offered, and it made me feel less stuck. Yeah, it took a couple of years of paying off debt and saving, but hey, at least I knew it wasn’t impossible. And waiting two years for a trip was better than spending two years frustrated and restless.
Once you get an idea of what you can do-and what you’re willing to do-to save for travel, you can come up with a solid plan of getting there.
You can do the same thing with your time. If you’re too busy this year to take a trip, schedule some time to come up with a plan for next year. Settle on some dates and figure out a timeline for booking flights, hotels, and so on. There’s a lot of power even in simply establishing a time frame. You go from thinking, “I’m so exhausted I could really use a vacation” to “I’m so exhausted I can’t wait for my vacation.” Even if it’s next year, at least it’s on the horizon.
Make the Most of the Wait
Possibly, anticipation played an important role in explaining the observed differences in pre-trip, happiness between vacationers and non-vacationers. Holiday trips are experiences which people look forward to. For most, the enjoyment starts weeks, even months before the holiday actually begins.
Remarkably, post-trip, happiness is generally not different for vacationers and non-vacationers. While you’re saving or waiting for the time, learn the language, read about it. Set time to actually plan your trip. From picking a location to figuring out the financial part of setting certain milestones to help you get excited. Make a list of a few books you want to read on the topic. Reminisce about your old trip. Make albums with your old photos. Put up pictures.
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